No one Wants to Steal Your Children in Israel
They say that my generation grew up with repeated news stories of horrific kidnappings and murders of children, so we all believe that people are lurking everywhere trying to steal our kids and do bad things to them. In the States, I worried all the time that someone was waiting for their chance to snatch up my kids wherever we went. I wasn't alone, most parents around me shared something of this collective anxiety. We teach “stranger danger” to make ourselves feel better, even though this is proven to cause more harm than good for children who often need to ask adults for help.
Here, kids rule the country. They are independent and straightforward, getting themselves to school, then after school activities, even around town. Adults laugh at the uniquely American idea that people are lurking everywhere to snatch children. No one here wants to take your kids, they say with a smile. They've got their own.
I would say that my worries here are considerably less regarding the boogyman child snatcher. I am more focused on street safety and if the kids are grounded and kind. As much as the collective anxiety is influential, so is the acknowledgement that kids are safer when they gain street smarts and common sense.